"The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus", Folio from a Falnama (Book of Omens)

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This exceptionally large folio depicts seven Christian men, known as the Seven Sleepers and their dog Qitmir, who escaped persecution by miraculously sleeping in a cave for 309 years. The contrasts between the dark cave and the colorful rocks, the commotion outside and the peaceful sleepers inside reinforce the narrative. The crowned figure on a white horse, most likely the Roman emperor Decius (ruled 249-51 AD) who persecuted the men, is led by Satan, portrayed here with dark skin, a white beard and a serpent emerging from his neck. The picture would have faced a text page that contains a positive augury.

"The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus", Folio from a Falnama (Book of Omens), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

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